Navigating the ISIR Delay: Strategic Steps for Higher Education Institutions

Feb 6, 2024

Committed to the success of our clients, Liaison is offering this blog for the next couple of months to share updates, insights, and resources for our community. Contributors to the blog are experienced higher education professionals who have specialized in financial aid and enrollment management. 

The recent decision by the Department of Education to delay the release of the Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) has presented higher education institutions with a unique set of challenges. As the custodians of student welfare and academic success, institutions must proactively address the consequences of this delay and implement strategic measures to support their student body and maintain optimal enrollment. 

Understanding the ISIR Delay:

The ISIR is a linchpin in the financial aid process, providing critical insights into students’ financial situations. The delay in its release demands a strategic response from higher education institutions, considering the potential impact on student enrollment decisions, financial aid disbursement, and overall institutional planning. The most recent delay stems from an effort to adjust the need formula to factor in the present inflation rate for the most accurate need assessment.

Strategic Measures for Higher Education Institutions

Transparent Communication:

Higher education institutions should adopt a transparent communication strategy to keep students informed about the ISIR delay. Providing clear and prompt updates on the reasons behind the delay and the expected timeline will help manage student expectations.

Proactive Engagement with Financial Aid Recipients:

Financial aid offices play a pivotal role during such disruptions. Institutions should proactively engage with students who are recipients of financial aid, supplying personalized guidance on managing their finances and expectations during the delay.

Possibility of Awarding Based on Estimates:

Institutions should explore the option of awarding financial aid based on estimated financial need before the official release of ISIR. This approach can help alleviate immediate financial pressures on students while waiting for the official documentation. However, clear communication about the provisional nature of these awards is crucial.

Enhanced Student Support Services:

In anticipation of heightened student concerns, institutions should bolster support services. This involves expanding counseling services, offering financial literacy programs, and establishing clear channels for students to seek guidance regarding the delayed ISIR release.

Flexible Enrollment Policies:

Recognizing the uncertainties caused by the ISIR delay, institutions should consider implementing flexible enrollment policies. This may include extending deadlines for enrollment deposits and offering flexibility in admissions processes to accommodate students awaiting financial aid decisions. 

Strategic Budgetary Planning:

Institutions need to revisit and adjust their budgetary planning considering the ISIR delay. This involves reassessing financial aid disbursement schedules, reallocating resources where necessary, and ensuring that essential student services remain uninterrupted.

Adaptation of Enrollment Management Strategies:

In response to potential fluctuations in acceptance rates and enrollment decisions, admissions offices should adapt their strategies. This may involve recalibrating marketing efforts, revisiting enrollment projections, and staying agile in addressing the evolving needs of prospective students.

As higher education institutions decide the best ways to address the ISIR delay, a proactive and strategic approach is paramount. By prioritizing the initiative discussed above, institutions can mitigate the impact on students and support their commitment to academic success. Minimizing the impact on enrollments and their net tuition revenue.

In summary, we recognize the strain on enrollment leaders right now. Clients of Liaison are welcome to tap into our expertise to help navigate the next few months – a critical time in enrollment management. Continue to visit this blog for updates and insights, and if you want to schedule a complimentary 30-minute strategy discussion email Suzanne Sharp at


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Over the last three decades, Liaison has helped over 40,000 programs on more than 1,200 campuses more effectively manage admissions through its Centralized Application Service (CAS™) technology and complementary application processing and support services. The higher education technology leader supports its partner institutions’ total enrollment goals by pairing CAS with its Enrollment Marketing (EM) platform as well as the recently acquired TargetX (CRM) and advanced analytics software Othot.